In a surprisingly close game in the first half, both the San Jose State Spartans and Kansas Jayhawks struggled to knock down shots, before heating up later in the half. The Jayhawks’ physical interior defense proceeded to assert itself, as center Jeff Withey blocked six shots in the first half to protect a 40 – 32 lead into intermission. Travis Releford led KU with 11 first-half points, followed by redshirt freshman sensation Ben McLemore with nine points, including two spectacular alley-oop finishes.
The pesky Spartans kept it close in the first half, led by James Kinney’s 11 points and DJ Brown’s seven points, as each player knocked down a timely 3-point shot. Burly forward Chris Cunningham cleared the glass with eight rebounds, but otherwise suffered through a frustrating first half, making only one of nine shots from the field.
The Spartans got the lead down as close as six points 40 – 34 on Kinney’s two free throws to start the second half, but the Jayhawks poured it on with an 18 – 0 run to open up a 60 – 36 lead. The Spartans’ Kinney started heating up by scoring nine consecutive points, including a 3-point shot and a dunk off a steal. A made 3-pointer by the Spartans’ Christian Garrett, a putback by Mike Van Kirk, and another 3-pointer by Kinney cut the KU lead to 60 – 51. A free throw by Cunningham cut the margin to 60 – 52, before free throws by Kevin Young of KU broke the string of 16 consecutive Spartans points.
Kinney continued his hot shooting, burying jumpers despite many of them being contested. However, Withey’s school-record 12 blocked shots proved too much for the Spartans, the last of which led to a spectacular breakaway windmill dunk by McLemore.
Kinney finished with 30 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. Cunningham grabbed 11 rebounds before fouling out.
Withey ended up with a rare triple double of 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 blocked shots. Despite shooting just 4 of 18 behind the 3-point line, the Jayhawks still had a balanced attack of Releford, Johnson, and McLemore scoring 13 points apiece. The final tally was Kansas 70, San Jose State 57, as a feisty Spartan club refused to quit against a dominant performance in the paint by Withey.
Tags: Basketball Ben McLemore Chris Cunningham Christian Garrett DJ Brown Elijah Johnson James Kinney Jeff Withey Kansas Jayhawks Kevin Young Mike Van Kirk NCAA San Jose State Spartans San Jose State Spartans Basketball Travis Teleford